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Our Story

Over 100 years of inspiring, supporting and empowering people from all backgrounds to study STEM at university.

In the beginning

Faculties and schools at the University of Leeds have been running outreach events with the public for over a century.

Openness and public access have been part of the university since its inception. Prior to being awarded a Royal Charter as an independent university in 1904, the University of Leeds can trace its roots back to the Yorkshire College of Science in the nineteenth century, open to students of all faiths, and as part of the federal Victoria University, open to both women and men.

Educational Engagement

Outreach at Leeds is now managed by a dedicated department, Educational Engagement (EE). EE was established in 2012 with the mission to open access to Higher Education to students from all backgrounds.

Leeds has a strong tradition of widening participation to the University, currently Educational Engagement prioritizes work with students from Low Participation Neighbourhoods and Widening Participation backgrounds as well as BAME students not proportionally represented at the University of Leeds.

STEM at Leeds

(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

The STEM Outreach Team is just one of a group of teams within EE dedicated to engaging pupils from schools and colleges with the research and opportunities available from over 200 STEM courses at the University of Leeds.

The team is made up of subject experts, programme managers and students, working closely with the STEM faculties at the University. We work with researchers and academics who are excited to share their work and journeys into STEM with students. We bring cutting edge research, exciting new ideas and practical workshops to pupils in schools and colleges – allowing them to experience what STEM study at university looks like.

Our journey

The STEM Outreach Team now works in partnership with over 200 schools and colleges in the UK, professional bodies, companies and charities to deliver outstanding STEM activities to students.

Some of our STEM education partners include In2Science, In2University, Born in Bradford, LeedsGATE, University Technical College (UTC) Leeds and Go Higher West Yorkshire.

We work with industry and University of Leeds Alumni through industrial advisory boards to shape our curriculum. Recently we have worked alongside Taylors of Harrogate and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

In 2006 we established the Leeds Festival of Science, an annual event full of fun and exciting activities for thousands of school pupils and members of the publics to engage with.

How we help

Students involved in our outreach activities overwhelmingly report:

  • An increase in confidence in applying to university
  • A greater awareness of the STEM subjects and opportunities on offer at the University of Leeds
  • A clearer idea of whether they would like to progress to Higher Education


What our partners say about us:

“The hacker day definitely sparked in interest in programming and electronics for me, I wasn't sure what sort of career I wanted whilst at school but attending the day opened my eyes to programming. It was completely different to the material we were taught at school and made me realise I would enjoy doing it as a career. 

“I'm now studying MEng Electronic and Computer Engineering which is a hybrid course incorporating elements of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. It allowed me to learn the basics of electronics and gain an advanced knowledge of embedded systems whilst learning to program on the same level as a Computer Science graduate. I've been able to work on many projects included developing a mapping robot and creating Virtual Reality simulations with free reign to design them as I desired. 

“Being able to choose to work on large projects I'm passionate about has been one of the best parts of the course, as it lets you focus on the areas you really enjoy and specialise towards the job you want to do.” 

Year 12 pupil, Heckmondwike Grammar School 



"This [event] enables first generation students to consider Russell Group University education and show that it is within reach of their ability and is also accessible.” 

Sharon Scholes, Computer Science Teacher, Greenhead College 



“It was particularly encouraging for my students to meet the current engineering students and discover they had also studied BTEC as this re-assured them that they can get into University on this route.” 

Katherine Ireland, Higher Education Co-ordinator at Leeds City College 



“The students really enjoyed the practicals involved in designing and building the robot. Most of all they enjoyed the competition element as well as meeting students from other schools and colleges.”  

Liz Bryan, Higher Education Co-ordinator and Careers Advisor at Queen Elizabeth 6th Form College, Darlington